Sunday, June 22, 2014

#40 - Nelson Brett Saison ('Merica-ish)

Two things I've planned to brew many times but have not followed through on are a super hoppy Nelson Sauvin beer and a Brettanomyces spiked Saison.  Prairie Artisan Ales' 'Merica has been getting a lot of hype recently, and generating plenty of imitations and inspirations from homebrewers, with a recipe that combines Brett and Nelson.  While I haven't actually had the beer, it seems hard to go wrong with a SMaSH Saison using delicious hops and Brettanomyces.

One spin I decided to take on the beer is to use Fawcett Pearl malt for the grist in order to emulate another popular beer I haven't had a chance to try: Heady Topper.  With such a simple malt and hop bill one of my focuses for this batch will be the water chemistry with additions of 6g Gypsum (about the same amount per gallon as Ed Coffey's (Ales of the Riverwards) clone, 1g CaCl and 8 tsp of 10% phosphoric acid.  All of the additions were intended to both bring down the mash pH and emphasize the hoppiness.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Wyeast 3711
Yeast Starter: 2L
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 1.006
IBU: 30
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 4 SRM
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 @ 73
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 21 @ 75
Tasting Notes:

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5 gal
Boil Size: 6.5 gal
Estimated OG: 1.053 SG
Estimated Color: 4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 30 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU

11 lb Pearl Malt (2.0 SRM) Malt 100 %
8 tsp 10% Phosphoric Acid
6 g Gypsum
1 g Calcium Chloride
0.25 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] (60 min) Hops 11 IBU
0.50 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] (15 min)Hops 11 IBU
0.25 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] (5 min) Hops 2 IBU
1.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] (1 min) Hops 2 IBU
1.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] (Hop Stand) Hops 2 IBU
2.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] (4 days) Hops 0 IBU
2.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] (4 days) Hops 0 IBU

1 Pkgs French Saison (Wyeast #3711) Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion
Total Grain Weight: 11 lbs
Single Infusion
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 16.00 qt of water at 161 F 150.0 F
15 min Mash Out Add 8.00 qt of water at 212 F 168.0 F

Brewed this today and had a pretty good time of it.  Hops smelled surprisingly piney, less fruity than I would have expected on opening, but when moving the wort to the carboy I was blown away by the luscious, complex, gooseberry like aroma.  I split the "whirlpool" hops (actually more of "hop stands" thrown directly into the wort) into 3 groups to try and add to the complexity of bitterness/oils/other components extracted. I have high expectations for this more complex hop addition which is based on the lessons I learned from my last beer which only used flameout hops.  I also remembered to add Irish Moss, which I forgot in my last batch.

The negatives: I once again got a very low efficiency from the Morebeer milled malt hitting just 59% efficiency and 1.048 SG when originally planning for 65% and 1.053.  This likely throws the beer further into the bitter range than I would have liked but at 5.5+ abv and only ~30 ibu's it shouldn't be too far out of style. For future reference I'll need to either get my own mill or just anticipate this type of efficiency and plan recipes accordingly. I also spilled about half an ounce of Nelson Sauvin pellets on the floor trying to vacuum seal them...I'll still have ~7.5 oz. to use after this batch though so hopefully they taste as good in this batch as I expect and I have the desire to use that much again.

Added 1.5 oz. of Nelson Sauvin dry hops directly to the fermenter.

Racked 3 gallons to secondary with BKYeast C2 and Orval dregs. The remaining amount was bottled plain. I ended up with closer to a gallon than the 2 gallons I had expected due to a huge amount of dry hop sludge preventing further bottling. Taste was almost all hop derived with citrusy and tropical flavors, a surprisingly lack of spice from the saison yeast, though it may show more as the hop character fades in the next few weeks. The Brettanomyces spikes version will likely be bottled in 3-4 weeks.

Popped a bottle of the "clean" version open for an initial tasting.  Very hop forward with white wine, pine, lime, and tropical fruit flavors.  Very dry but not a lot of yeast character showing through.  Will do a more thorough tasting in a few weeks.
Brett version is showing tiny signs of secondary fermentation with a ring of krausen/pellicle around the top.

Added dregs from a Prairie Ale. It wasn't my favorite beer (nor was the Orval) but should put this one close to the real thing in terms of Brett and wine yeast added.

Tasting of the straight version.  Great flavor with tons of the Nelson Sauvin character.
Plan to bottle the Brett version sometime this weekend.

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